Review: The Ordinary skincare products

The Ordinary has been a hype in the skincare world for ages now, and for good reason. Their products are incredibly affordable at drugstore prices, but contain active ingredients in high percentages that you would never find at the drugstore. All of their products are cruelty-free, and most of them are vegan. As most of their products come in glass bottles, which can be recycled more often than plastic, the brand is quite sustainable as well.

The only downside of The Ordinary is that it takes some knowledge about skincare ingredients to find out which products are suitable for your skin and skin concerns. All of their products are named after their active ingredients, and you need to know what these ingredients do in order to know which products you need. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to figure it all out on your own – The Ordinary website offers a regimen guide for several skin concerns.

In the past months I have been trying out 4 different products from The Ordinary: the Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil and Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA. I have sensitive combination skin that’s prone to acne and dehydration, so I chose these products for my skin concerns. In this post I will review them one by one.

From left to right a tube with Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, a bottle Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, a bottle 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, a bottle Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

Salicylic acid is a chemical exfoliant that is able to get into the pores of the skin and dissolve anything that’s clogging them. This is why this ingredient is often used in spot treatments, and if you have acne you’re probably quite familiar with it already. The Salicylic Acid 2% solution can be used as a spot treatment, but it can also be used all over the face as an exfoliant. It is important to keep in mind that acids can increase sun sensitivity, so it’s important to use an SPF when you use this product, especially if you use it in the morning (although, of course, using an SPF is always important).

I have been using the product both as an exfoliant for my entire face once a week, and a spot treatment when necessary. You only need very little of the product: just one drop is enough for several pimples. When I apply the product over my whole face, three drops is enough. I usually apply it at night, and when I wake up the morning any pimples or other spots look a lot better. They’re not fully gone, but usually they’re much less visible and the redness is reduced quite a lot. I also feel like exfoliating my face with the Salicylic Acid 2% Solution weekly has improved the overall appearance of my face. The only minor downside is that the solution sometimes pills a little when I apply it, but in my experience it doesn’t take too long before it is absorbed by your skin.

I will definitely repurchase this product once I finish it. That will take a while though: I have been using this product since February and I’m still only halfway through the bottle. It is currently out of stock as it is being reformulated, so this review is about the old formulation – but hopefully the new formulation will be just as good!

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is associated with a lot of potential skin benefits. It is supposed to reduce the visibility of pores, even out your skin tone, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, reduce dullness and even help to strengthen your skin barrier. It might also be helpful in treating hyperpigmentation and acne. And in addition, it is not acidic and can be tolerated well by every skin type. The added zinc helps to regulate sebum production, and may help fight bacteria that cause acne. Kind of sounds like a miracle product if you ask me! So is it all it is made out to be?

I was really excited to try out this product, because I already knew my skin really likes niacinamide. I use three drops on my entire face every night, unless I am using the Salicylic Acid Solution. Although you really shouldn’t expect miracle overnight solutions from this product, I find that it does work long-term. I can’t vouch for all the benefits it is supposed to give, but my skin looks a lot brighter, more even, and I seem to be getting less pimples. Although of course, it is hard to prove whether that last one is caused by the niacinamide or the salicylic acid.

Either way, I recently finished my first bottle and have started my second one. I’m pretty sure I will keep buying this for a long time.

From back to front a tube Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, a bottle Niacinamide 10%+Zinc 1%, a bottle 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, a bottle Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

I had been interested in trying a face oil for a while, and specifically rosehip seed oil (also often referred to as just “rosehip oil”). Rosehip seed oil contains natural vitamin A and C, which may help to brighten the skin and fight hyperpigmentation, acne scars and fine lines. It also helps to hydrate and moisturize the skin, is suitable even for oily skin types, and is even said to reduce acne and spots. Again, it kind of sounds like a miracle product.

I found that the oil did brighten and even out my skin tone – I had been using this for a few weeks before I started using the niacinamide serum and I could tell the difference. It also makes my skin feel really smooth. I usually use around 3 drops of the oil before applying my moisturizer at night time. However, I’m not as big of a fan of this oil as the niacinamide serum. Although my skin is not incredibly oily, I found that this oil made my skin too oily in the summer and I had to stop using it for a while.

Overall, I’m not sure that this oil is doing anything for my skin that another product isn’t already doing as well. Because the oil has some anti-aging properties as well, I might return to it later in life – but for now, I don’t think I will buy it again.

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

“Natural Moisturizing Factors” might sound like just a fancy name for a moisturizer. However, to my surprise The Ordinary website states that this is actually a scientific name for all the compounds that make up our skin hydration barrier, such as amino acids, fatty acids and ceramides. HA is an abbreviation for hyaluronic acid, which also can be found in the skin naturally and helps your skin to absorb moisture.

This moisturizer does what it needs to do: it moisturizes your skin. Other than that, it’s not really special – but that’s not the point of this moisturizer. If you need any active ingredients, The Ordinary has a lot of serums that contain exactly that, so you can pick and choose your personal skincare routine. I mostly use this moisturizer at night, because in the morning I prefer a cream with an SPF in it. However, I have tried it in the morning a few times too and I find that my BB cream goes over it quite smoothly. The downside of this moisturizer is that it takes a while before it fully absorbs into the skin so it can leave a bit of a whitecast.

Although I like this moisturizer, I don’t like it enough to repurchase once it is empty. I might buy it again in the future, but for now I will continue my search for a perfect night cream.


The Ordinary makes some really great, affordable products and I definitely recommend this brand. As for the individual products, of course it depends on your skin type whether these products work for you. Although I like the Rose Hip Seed Oil and the Natural Moisturizing Factor + HA, I don’t feel like they’re providing enough benefits to buy them again. I do, however, really like the Salicylic Acid 2% Solution and the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and will keep using these as long as I have the same skin concerns I do now.

Have you tried any products by The Ordinary and what did you think of them? Would you like to try these products? Let me know in the comments!


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